If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our September Author Interviews--9/6 Kathleen Valenti, 9/13 David Burnsworth, 9/20 Jeri Westerson, 9/27 Frances Brody. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

September Saturday Guest Bloggers: 9/2--Anne Bannon, 9/9 WWK Bloggers, 9/16 Margaret S. Hamilton, 9/23 Kait Carson, and on 9/30 Trixie Stiletto.


“May 16, 2017 – The Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) today announced the finalists of the second annual Star Award, given to authors of published women’s fiction. Six finalists were chosen in two categories, General and Outstanding Debut. The winners of the Star Award will be announced at the WFWA Retreat in Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 23, 2017.” In the general category, WWK’s Carla Damron was one of three finalist for her novel, The Stone Necklace. Go to Carladamron.com for more information. Congratulations, Carla!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.
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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Remembering a Great Poet



                                                                                   
On January 29th of this year it was the 50th anniversary of Robert Frost’s death. America’s favorite poet died several months before his 89th birthday. Two years before Frost’s death, John F. Kennedy requested this poet he greatly admired to read one of his poems at his Inauguration. Thus Robert Frost became the first inaugural poet of many to follow including Richard Blanco for Obama’s Inauguration this year. It was a cold, blustery January day when Frost tried to read the introduction he’d written to precede his poem, but he had trouble seeing the words from the glare of the sun and holding on to the papers in the wind. After putting them aside, his voice gained assurance as he recited a poem he’d written two days before Pearl Harbor, “The Gift Outright.” He made one change to the original poem in the last line. Instead of “such as she would become” he changed it to “such as she will become” referring to our land.


Frost is considered a master-poet because his poems worked, not only in cadence but in word choice. He didn’t plan his poems in advance, but believed those that came about unexpectedly in what he termed “a state of grace” were those poems that would succeed.  Another aspect that made him a master-poet to my mind is he wrote poems from personal experience and with a seeming simplicity appealing even to those who don’t regularly read poetry. Many of his poems tell a story like “The Death of the Hired Man,” “Two Tramps in Mud Time,” or “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening” – one of his most popular poems and one of his favorites, too.

When I was taking a poetry class as an undergraduate, we were asked to bring in a poem by our favorite author to share with the class and pass out copies of it, too. What a difficult assignment. I had more than one poet I liked, but decided Robert Frost would be at the top of the list.  What poem should I choose out of his hundreds and hundreds of poems? Not something everyone there had heard of.  Robert Frost had been a chicken farmer in his younger years. I had a flock of chickens, too. So I chose “A Blue Ribbon at Amesbury” which turned out to also be one of Robert Frost’s sixteen favorite poems.


On the day I was to read my selected poem, I plucked a Polish hen – one with a feathered topknot – and put her in a cloth book bag and covered her lightly with a towel. For those of you not familiar with chickens and most birds, if you cover them up and make it dark, they become very quiet and subdued.  I sat in an outside row and put the bag with hen on the floor beside me. She stayed quiet and only moved slightly once in a while. When my turn came, I took my hen out and went to the front of the room and placed her on the floor and then handed my copies of the poem  to the other students. Meanwhile, my hen did what any fowl would do in a new environment; she fouled the floor and clucked as she strutted about looking things over. I’d like to say everyone appreciated my reading of this excellent poem, but the truth is they were all laughing so hard (including Professor Hubler) that I don’t think anyone heard a word I said.

A little footnote to this story, another professor, Mary Turzillo, a wonderful poet, came in shortly after I finished reading my Frost poem with several of her poems to share. I don’t remember their titles, but one was a poem about the death of a rooster. This was, of course, a perfect ending to the class that day.

Robert Frost’s accomplishments in his life were many. He published eleven books of poetry, received numerous awards including a Pulitzer. He taught at several colleges including Amherst, University of Michigan, Harvard and Dartmouth. He also went on several good will missions for the U.S. Department of State to England, Ireland and Russia and left behind a wealth of other writings and letters in addition to his much loved poetry.

Who is your favorite poet and what about their poetry appeals to you?


10 comments:

James Montgomery Jackson said...

I’ve read all of Frost’s published poems and consider him my favorite, through truth be told, I don’t read too much poetry. I appreciate his poems because they are accessible to me; they speak to experiences I can at least imagine with references I understand.

I have corrected innumerable people who misquote Frost and say that good fences make good neighbors. It is clear Frost’s narrator does not belief this saying passed down from his neighbor’s father to the neighbor. The narrator makes some fun of the saying before questioning the whole reason for walls.

As with most things in life, I suspect we hear what we want and latch onto those things that agree with our prior thinking.

~ Jim

Unknown said...

I so totally agree with you, Jim, on not always understanding what Frost's - or any other poet - message really is. If they had taken the time to really read the ending of the poem "Mending Walls" they would know that isn't what Frost meant at all.

KB Inglee said...

William Blake. His poems range from simple (The Lamb) to so complex you have no idea what he means (Uriel). He had a great sense of humor. It helps that I was married to a Blake scholar. My daughter read The Lamb and The Tyger at his memorial service.

cj petterson said...

I have a friend who took a poetry class taught by Robert Frost. Fenton is in his 90th year and a dear man who recently self-published his own book of poetry. Fen taught me how to appreciate poetry. It's marvelous how beautiful words live on. Thanks for the reminder.

Fellow Guppy Marilyn / cj

Carla Damron said...

I also love Blake. I'm also a huge fan of Nikky Finney--what a gifted woman she is.

Yves Fey said...

Too many favorites. Current poet - Mary Oliver, so beautiful and accessible. Keats, haunting and romantic. T.S Eliot for his alchemy of despair and hope. I have favorite poems by Hopkins, Wallace Stevens, Donne--and of course Shakespeare.

E. B. Davis said...

I used to read poetry--not so much anymore, but my favorites include Frost, Sandburg, Davies, Santayana, Whittier, Blake and Whitman. Thanks for the reminder, Gloria.

Alyx Morgan said...

I read Frost's The Road Not Taken in grade school & it's been my favorite ever since.

In high school I took all the English classes I could & studied Dickinson, Whitman, Cummings & a bunch of others, but none of them really stayed with me like Frost's words about choosing a less-traveled path.

Kara Cerise said...

Two of my favorite poets are Maya Angelou (I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings) and e.e. cummings (in Just-).

Your blog has inspired me to read more poems and maybe even write one. Thank you, Gloria.

Gloria Alden said...

I'm using my daughter's computer so I was the annoymous who posed earlier before I headed for Alcatraz with my daughter.

K.B., Carla and E.B. I like Blake, too, but haven't read him in years.

Marilyn, how nice to know a poet who knew Robert Frost. If I knew his whole name, I'd check out his book of poetry.

Yves, a nice list of older poets, but I'm not familiar with Mary Oliver. I'll have to check her out.

Alyx, I'm glad you like Frost, too.

Kara, I like Maya Angelou, too. I went to a poetry reading by her at Hiram College once. It was awesome.

Another current favorite poet is Billy Collins. I was so glad to find one of his books of poetry recently in a book store. Many of his poems are quite humorous like one - I can't remember the title now - about reasons for not sitting down to write.